Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it difficult to have social interactions, think logically, and distinguish between reality and delusions or hallucinations. Because of the complex nature of this condition, it is often difficult to maintain a job.
Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits are available for those who have the medical evidence necessary to qualify.
Qualifying for Benefits
In order to qualify for SSDI benefits, applicants must be able to demonstrate through medical records that their schizophrenic symptoms prevent them from working, despite taking anti-psychotic medication. A simple medical diagnosis will not work.
Schizophrenia is listed in the Social Security Administration's book of impairments, which means that applicants who meet the listing requirements can receive benefits.
To meet the criteria of the listing, an individual must suffer from one of the following on a constant or periodic basis:
- Hallucinations or delusions
- Exceptionally disorganized behavior, such as inappropriate actions, unresponsiveness or rigid muscles
- Irrational or incoherent thinking
- Withdrawal or isolation from social interaction
The individual must then be able to prove that the schizophrenia symptoms cause serious limitations in two of the following:
- Ability to engage in daily activities
- Ability to function socially
- Ability to focus on a task
The condition could also cause long, recurring episodes of deteriorating symptoms.
An applicant must be able to prove that schizophrenia has made it nearly impossible for the person to function without support from living at home or in an assisted living situation.
Medical Vocational Allowance
If an individual with schizophrenia is unable to meet the requirements of the Social Security's impairment listing, it may be possible to win a medical vocational allowance.
This option may be available if an applicant can prove that their condition is severe enough, is expected to last at least 12 months and prevents the person from doing any type of work, including unskilled work.
This can be a difficult argument to make, however, and the help of a skilled Social Security disability lawyer is advised. Qualifying for traditional benefits is also complex. Our Social Security disability lawyers can help you create a strong case for benefits.